Michelle Collier Named Atlantic Sun Volleyball Coach of the Year
Head Coach Michelle Collier (Photo credit: Skip Tapp)
Head Coach Michelle Collier (Photo credit: Skip Tapp)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Second-year Head Coach Michelle Collier highlights the Atlantic Sun Conference Volleyball regular-season awards for Jacksonville as the 2013 Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year, the conference office announced on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Collier turned around a program that last season finished 10-24 overall, 7-11 in the A-Sun and was swept by No. 4 North Florida in the first round of last year’s Atlantic Sun Tournament as the fifth-seed.

She has led the Dolphins during their historic season to their first ever No. 1 seed in the A-Sun Tournament and a share of the regular-season title with ETSU. This is Jacksonville’s highest seed since the Fins were No. 2 entering the 1999 A-Sun Tournament.

Jacksonville finished its regular-season 27-3 overall and 16-2 in the A-Sun. 27 wins is the program’s most since the 1987 squad posted 29 and three losses is the fewest in the program’s 41-year history. This is also just the fifth season that volleyball has recorded a single-digit loss record. The 2009 and 1983 teams recorded nine losses, the inaugural 1972 lineup tallied eight and the 1978 squad posted seven. 16 conference wins is also Jacksonville’s most since joining the A-Sun in 1998. The 2009 and 2008 teams each earned 15 conference wins.

The Dolphins are currently riding a seven-match win streak, have won nine of their last 10 and finished a perfect 13-0 at home in 2013.

Sophomore Sammie Strausbaugh was a unanimous decision for the All-Atlantic Sun First Team. Last season’s Freshman of the Year, the outside hitter from Dover, Pa. currently leads the A-Sun in service aces per set (.36) and is seventh in the A-Sun in kills per set (3.44). She also leads Jacksonville in service aces per set, kills pet set and digs per set (2.90). Strausbaugh ended her regular-season campaign last weekend with straight double-doubles at USC Upstate and ETSU, recording a match-high 18 kills and 20 digs against the Spartans and a career-best 19 kills with 10 digs verses the Bucs.

Both seniors Kendall Courtney and Kylie Jacob earned All-Atlantic Sun Second Team honors. Courtney, a setter from Houston, Texas, became the Atlantic Sun career-leader in service aces this season, tallying 163 so far. She is second in the A-Sun in service aces per set (.32) and fifth in assists per set (10.53), while those numbers are second and first, respectively, on Jacksonville. Jacob, an outside hitter from Fayetteville, Ga., has an A-Sun fourth-best hitting percentage (.338) and blocks per set (1.04). She leads Jacksonville in both of those categories and has a third-best kills per set (2.50) on JU. She also tallied 11 double-digit kill matches and recorded a block assist in all 30 matches played.

Lastly, freshman Rachel Miller was named to the All-Atlantic Sun Freshman Team for her efforts this season. The libero from Clearwater, Fla. ended the regular-season second on Jacksonville in digs per set (2.85) and third in assists per set (.71). She has the sixth-best service ace total with 16. She also earned a career-best and five-set season-high dig count of 21 at Northern Kentucky (Oct. 25) and recorded 16 double-digit dig matches.